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8o                   HISTORY OF PERSIA                 HIAP.
of hard fighting in the neighbourhood of Ardchil, destroyed
the power of Babek. This man had been a scourge of the
Caliphate for twenty years, in the course of which he had
defeated six armies and occasioned the slaughter of a
quarter of million men and taken thousands of men and
women prisoners. After his final defeat by Atshin, Bubek
fled, but was handed over to the Caliph by an Armenian
prince with whom he had taken sanctuary, and was put
to a cruel death.
The account of his execution and that of his brother
practically terminates Tabarfs valuable history* The
historian himself was born two years after this incident,
but he only briefly summarizes the events of his own
time.
The Campaign against the Greeks^ A.H, 223 (8^8).-—
Like Mamun, Motasim was a man of energy and
active habit, and when he heard that the Greeks were
ravaging Syria he asked which was their strongest fortress.
Being told Amorium, he advanced on it with a powerful
army. Theophilus, the Greek Emperor^ was defeated in
a pitched battle, and, as his army was not able to face the
Moslems, he was doomed to inaction while Amorium was
besieged. After a successful resistance for nearly two
months, a weak point in the fortifications was pointed
out by a renegade and the fortress was destroyed, its
garrison being treated with much cruelty*
The Later Tears of Motaswfs Reign.- The later years
of Motasim were disturbed by a conspiracy headed by
Ojayf, who viewed with jealousy the increase in power
or the Turks. The insurrection was put down with
barbarous cruelty, and shortly afterwards Afshin fell from
favour and was put to death* Although arrested for
treachery and embezzlement, the religious fanaticism of
Motasim caused him to be tried and condemned for
holding Zoroastrian doctrines and for secret hostility to
Islam.
Waihikt A.H. 227-232 (842-847).—Wathik, who suc-
ceeded his father, Motasim, in A,H, 227 (842), was the
son of a Greek slave-girl. He marked his accession by
"squeezing" his ministers, some of whom were beaten